INDIANAPOLIS — With eight returners, four transfers, one freshman and a brand new coaching staff, Butler basketball is ready for a new era.

Thad Matta’s squad has spent the summer becoming a team, and the new head coach is pleased with the effort so far.

“We’re really starting to establish how we want to play,” said Matta. “Everyone came in ready to work and they’ve started to mesh really well.”

The Bulldogs will finally put the pieces together August 2-12 on a ten-day trip to Greece and Italy. There, they will face teams of professional players from Athens and Rome. Everyone is excited to head out, get some true in-game play, and team bonding.

“It’s a great learning opportunity for us. Right now we’re playing against each other, so we’ll be looking at combinations of who plays well with who, who can play multiple positions, that sort of thing,” said Matta.

“I also think these kind of trips are great to build camaraderie. When you have a new staff, new players, it’s awesome for us to be together and just learn more about each other. Come November through March, it’s going to be on. The more we know, the more we know.”

Graduate transfer Eric Hunter Jr. was supposed to go abroad with Purdue for a similar trip, but COVID canceled it. The opportunity to go abroad for the first time with his new team makes it even more special.

“We just got our itinerary of when the games are and stuff like that, so I’m really excited,” said Hunter. “The biggest thing has been making us feel like a family.”

Butler leaves for their international tour on August 2, with games scheduled on August 4 and 5 in Rome and August 9 and 10 in Athens.